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AL East Notes: Manoah, Bautista, Yankees’ Injuries

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The Blue Jays made a “contract suggestion” to star right-hander Alek Manoah this winter, but apparently the sides were not close, according to Jon Heyman of the New York Post. Manoah is part of a young core, alongside Bo Bichette and Vlad Guerrero Jr., that have been speculated as possible targets for long-term extensions.

Manoah, 25, put up a quality season last year, working to a 2.24 ERA over 196 2/3 innings and finishing third in AL Cy Young voting. That followed on from a strong rookie year in 2021, and cemented Manoah as one of the sport’s brightest young starting pitchers. As such, it’s not a huge surprise that the Blue Jays would have some level of interest in locking up the former eleventh overall pick long term. For his part, Manoah is still five years away from free agency but four of those should be arbitration-eligible, as Manoah is likely to qualify as Super Two player at the end of the season.

Here’s some more notes from around the AL East:

  • The chances of Orioles closer Felix Bautista making the Opening Day roster appear to be growing, with manager Brandon Hyde looking to get Bautista into three or four more games before the team breaks camp, according to Roch Kubatko of MASN. He’s been highly effective in his two outings to date, displaying his triple-digit fastball. Bautista’s camp had been slowed by shoulder and knee injuries to start, but he looks to be on track now. That’s a huge positive for the Orioles, as the closer worked to a 2.19 ERA over 65 appearances last season.
  • Bryan Hoch of MLB.com provides an update on some of the injured Yankees in camp. Starting with the bad news, reliever Tommy Kahnle has been unable to throw as scheduled as he battles biceps soreness. Kahnle re-signed with the Yankees this winter on two-year, $11.5MM deal after a few seasons with the Dodgers. He had been projected as a vital late-inning member of the Yankees’ bullpen, but it appears the start of his season will be delayed. It’s not known yet when Kahnle is next scheduled to pitch, but obviously it’s not great news for his recovery timeline.
  • Left-hander Carlos Rodon returned to throwing yesterday and was feeling good, according to Hoch. There were plenty of fears after the Yankees announced that the oft-injured starter would be shutdown for 7 to 10 days with a forearm strain, but an MRI showed no UCL damage and it seems Rodon is back on track to start ramping up for the season. It’s already been confirmed that Rodon will start the season on the injured list, but a positive return to throwing for the six-year, $162MM free agent signing hopefully means it won’t be a long wait before he can make his Yankees debut.
  • Hoch also reports that Harrison Bader is doing “better than anticipated,” relaying a quote from manager Aaron Boone. It’s a rather vague statement and there’s no indication that Bader is on track any sooner than the initially projected six week recovery timeline (three weeks of regular season action), but it’s at least a positive development as the Yankees look to overcome a number of injuries early in the season. Bader impressed in the playoffs for the team after coming over from the Cardinals at the deadline last year, crushing five home runs in nine games before the team was eliminated in the ALCS.





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